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Protein Powders

The protein powder market is so crowded, how are we supposed to spot the difference?!

The main types are whey isolate, whey concentrate, soy, pea, rice, egg white and hemp.

 Whey Protein Isolate

The pure protein component of whey.  Whey isolate and concentrate are very similar as they are both whey protein, but isolate undergoes slightly more processing to contain a higher protein content.  Whey isolate is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant.  Whey protein is the most popular with gym bunnies because it contains the highest number of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).

 Whey Protein Concentrate

Additionally contains a small amount of carbs, sugar (lactose) and fat.  Both types of whey protein are absorbed very quickly into the body.  Due to whey being absorbed more rapidly than other types of protein, they are most useful immediately after a workout as they reach muscles promptly for growth and repair.  If you are strict on your carb or sugar intake, isolate is the way to go.  If not, concentrate is usually a bit cheaper and it will do the job nearly as well.

 Soy Protein

Is slower to digest, however, it is not as popular as the other types of proteins.  This is due to its levels of phytoestrogensSoy is one of the highest foods in phytoestrogens, which is not popular among males as these plant-based hormones can disrupt oestrogen levels.  Soy protein is only indicated for females who have low oestrogen levels, namely menopausal women.  Soy is also a goitrogen and can inhibit thyroid function in anyone with underactive thyroid.

 Pea Protein

Is also slower to digest and keeps you fuller for longer than whey protein.  Pea protein is one of the most popular on the market.  It is perfect for the average person to add to smoothies or your breakfast, as they do not need a super-fast absorbing protein.  Pea protein is low-carb, low-fat, vegan, lactose-free and easy to digest, hence why it is a crowd favourite.

 Rice Protein

Is similar to pea protein in being hypoallergenic, low-carb, low-fat, vegan and lactose-free.  For those people who do not digest legumes well and get gassy, rice protein would be a good option.  Compared to other proteins, rice protein contains more of the amino acid arginine.  Arginine is a vasodilator that can enhance blood flow to muscles to enhance growth and repair.

 Egg White

Is known to be the most complete protein out of any food, as eggs naturally contain the most well-balanced amino acid profile.  If you are already eating quite a few eggs in your diet, you may want to choose an alternative protein powder to get a greater variety of protein sources.  Egg protein is low-carb and low-fat, as the egg yolks, which contain fat and cholesterol, are removed.

 Hemp Protein

Is one of the least processed proteins.  It is just ground hemp seeds pressed into powder form.  Hemp seeds contain omega 3 and 6 which are also present in small amounts in the powder.  Omega 3 and 6 are essential fatty acids that we must include in our diet as our body cannot produce them.  Hemp protein has an earthy flavour and is naturally higher in fibre than other protein powders.


Is flavourless and dissolves in liquid so can easily be added to any drink for skin, hair, nails, joint and gut benefits.  Use one tablespoon for a smoothie and one teaspoon for a hot drink.

*Extract from MY NUTRITION MENTOR by Liv Kennedy

Check out The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Proteins

Your Nutrition Mentor,